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The Collector

Narrated by: James Wilby
Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (478 ratings)

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Summary

Withdrawn, uneducated, and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda.

When he wins the pools, he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she is understand her captor, and so gain her freedom.

©1963 John Fowles (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Collector

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Gruesome insight into dark side of human soul

This is horryffying portrait of a man falling into abyss, not finding strentgh to hold on to what is good in him but finding excuses at avery step of descending into darkness. It is not a pleasent listen, but it is powerful portrait of how one find himself unable to turn away from evil. Deeply moving book, forcing deep self reflection.

24 people found this helpful

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I listened in two days!

Absolutely fabulous. Loved the characterisation that made my skin crawl, and Fowles has the incredible talent of making one almost feel sorry for the protagonist's situation, before realising the extent of the delusion. An excellent psychological thriller that I've already listened to three times in two months!

23 people found this helpful

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My word what a horrifying tale

I don’t think I’ll ever listen to this again. Because I don’t think I’ll ever forget the story. Delve into the mind of a person who knows what morals are and how they work, but simply talks himself out of being moral in any way. Then, follow the mind of a young woman who life is altered in one of the most scary ways possible. Lastly hear how it all comes to an end... and the beginning for others.

15 people found this helpful

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A horrifying, realistic tale of obsession

Would you listen to The Collector again? Why?

No, I couldn't put myself through such an uncomfortable listen again, just because the writing is that spine chilling and believable! Let me be clear, this is a very well written book, and an extremely compelling story, but one of the characters is so repulsive, it is so hard to hear the tragic story from his warped perspective.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Miranda is very brave, resourceful yet flawed young woman. She is an accurate depiction of a desperate woman in her position.

What about James Wilby’s performance did you like?

His commitment and clear diction.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Beware of the quiet ones...

Any additional comments?

This story is not for the fainthearted but is worth persevering though to the harrowing and unpredictable end.

14 people found this helpful

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wonderfully read and the story...heartbreaking .

perfectly read ,the story is so sad and gripping so plausible full of hope and despair a must read

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent version of an insidious tale.

Read the book and saw a film with Terence Stamp many many years ago, I remembered the story vividly. ( it is that affecting!) This version has the same effect, it is stunningly well read by James Wilbey. I highly recommend it but be aware, the story will stay with you.

7 people found this helpful

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Disturbing

Absolutely incredible, tense and truthful story. Maybe the most unsettling novel I've read/listened too. I definitely want to check out more by this author.

7 people found this helpful

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Gripping story

Really enjoyed listening to the story. The reason I gave it only 4 stars was because I didn't like the way the narrator read the girl's part of the story.

5 people found this helpful

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Perfect reading

Perfect . The reading was excellent to unwind the story. Loved it. Irritating having to carry on writing review on iPhone while walking in traffic. In order to write enough to send 5 stars

8 people found this helpful

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Dreary

I didn't finish this book, the first few chapters were OK then it got ridiculously boring. The narrator being male and doing a silly woman voice grated on me I am afraid.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sharon
  • 04-06-13

Masterful narration

It's a powerful story of obsession and delusion. The perpetrator seem to see himself as the victim. I suppose he was the victim of a delusional mind. Hats off to James Wilby for his wonderful narration.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Rochelle
  • 18-08-14

Creepy!

The story starts out creepy & stays that way right until the end. John Fowles has done a brilliant job of creating these characters, particularly Frederick, who seems as though he ought to be as harmless as the butterflies he collects - but who is anything but.

"Gripping" would be a good adjective for this one. It is a remarkably well written story, my favourite so far of the Fowles books available on the Audible book store. It's compelling from beginning to end.

13 people found this helpful

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  • moo
  • 10-08-14

Fantastic first person book, amazing narration

Any additional comments?

The Collector is one of the best first person books I've listened to. The narration is fantastic. The main character is painted with such clairty, creepy, chilling, fantastic book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • willow33
  • 28-03-18

Perhaps Better Read

Any additional comments?

I have no idea what Fowles's intentions were with this acclaimed book, but I only enjoyed listening to half of it - the bad guy's half. This may have been a reaction to the narrator's OTT reading of the victim. It had me rooting for the bad guy. Maybe that was Fowles intention. I don't know and what seemed to me as mostly a college dissertation certainly didn't make me care.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 11-08-12

You DON'T tell a Disease its Name

I loved this novel of obsession, passion and control. While at the plot level it seems like (what now is a basic, but when it came out was revolutionary) psychological creep thriller (see Criminal Minds, Law & Order, Misery, etc.), this novel is much, much more. It is an exploration and a nuanced look at class struggles, art, power, religion, money, etc.). It is a novel that resonates on several levels. It reminded me of a some weird love-child of Vladimir Nabokov and Thomas Harris. But, perhaps that is just the whispers of all those moths and butterflies talking to me. The narrator bugged at times, but overall did a good job.

27 people found this helpful

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  • J.Means
  • 06-01-14

Exceptional performance of a gripping novel

Where does The Collector rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best audiobooks I've heard. Couldn't stop listening - finished in two days.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Erica Smith
  • 28-02-13

Perfect Performance

What did you love best about The Collector?

This is a masterpiece of a first novel.

What did you like best about this story?

Bizarre and powerful. A compelling portrait of intriguing self-delusion.

Which character – as performed by James Wilby – was your favorite?

Wilby slips into the role so effortlessly that one easily forgets that it isn't actually Ferdinand Clegg telling the story. Wilby should be nominated for an award.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Alexandra
  • 18-08-19

Brilliant! and amazing narration must read!

I am surprised this hasn't been read read by more people! this is not only a great suspense, it's explores the twisted mind an logic of a psychopath but also how beauty and goodness can be stripped down to nothing. the narrator is wonderful and makes the characters alive , so you can just see them and understand who the are!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-02-19

A favorite of serial killers...

I found out about this book in a weird way. Through my guilty pleasure of true crime podcasts, I learned that more than one of the most haunting killers chronicled, had this book in their possession. I thought - how creepy must this book be? For me, the writing was dull. The second part, which is written from the point of view of Miranda, the kidnapped girl, seemed unbelievable and tedious. I felt kind of sick the entire time I was listening and only finished it in the hopes of some sort of redemption and satisfaction, which I didn’t get. I think the author captured the mind of a sadistic killer but never managed to create a real human out of the kidnapped woman. She remained one dimensional, which is just the way serial killers like them, I suppose.

1 person found this helpful

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  • shay
  • 19-10-18

An Impactful Performance

I listened to this audiobook while working on a project. I have to say this is the BEST audiobook I have ever listened to. James Wilby breathes so much life into the story. His voice is so in sync with these erratic characters. I believe this beautiful narration and the imagery his words conjured will be forever burned into my brain. This is definitely one of those books that stays with you long after you put it down (or in my case, close the app)! Despite the fact that this book was written decades ago, it still feels relevant today. There is something uncanny about “Ferdinand” (Fredrick), our "protagonist" who collects butterflies. He has an eerily similar ideology to that of the recent red pillers, incels, and the typical “nice” guys who can’t take no for an answer. And Fredrick truly believes he is a "nice guy" and that Miranda will certainly see this if she spends enough time with him. This is the basis for his kidnapping her. Yet, he's the sort of person you do feel sorry for because of the utter loneliness he's been trapped in. But, obviously, this doesn’t excuse his actions. Miranda, our other protagonist, is the exact opposite. A vibrant "social butterfly". She's a passionate art student with the misfortune of being this man's fascination. I found Miranda to be very unique, considering the era this book was published. This was written during a time when women where blamed for assaults with questions like "well, what were you wearing?" and the character flaws of victims were brought up as if they held any relevant to such cases. Miranda is a victim. Yet, she is not meant to be perfect. She has flaws. She is young and arrogant, like most people her age. But, this doesn't make her any less blameless in her situation, obviously. The book is weirdly philosophical and profound. Something you don't always expect from a thriller. On the surface there's obvious themes about violence, particularly violence towards women. Then there are deeper examinations. One reoccurring element explored is the nature of those who create and those who “collect”. I would recommend this book to everyone despite the dark subject matter. I will say it is a rough ride. You may not be able to stomach it as it is not always enjoyable. It’s intense. But, well worth it.

3 people found this helpful